by Job Abraria
If you haven’t heard of Futsal in Peoria, you are missing a large, fiercely passionate underground sports community. Futsal is recognized by FIFA as the only indoor soccer game in the world and in Peoria, is held and organized at the Peoria Soccer Club.
Futsal as indoor soccer has quite different endgame than outdoor soccer. It is much more of a skill building and development activity builder. There are strong components and focus toward safety, competitive teaming, fun, and skill development.
Like soccer in many ways, Futsal is played on a much smaller indoor court that is neither walled or netted to keep the ball within the court. Marked boundary lines encourage skillful play while being safe. The smaller court also help drive and develop accuracy. It is played with 5 players instead of 11 teaching players to better control the ball, passing strategies, and footwork skills. No Rebound walls lend to greater skill development along with a smaller ball and soft floor that leads to less bounce. These constructs develops skills like dribbling, close control, and passing.
To add to the degree of safety, goalkeepers throw the ball in instead of kicking it. Kick Ins or corners also require that 5 feet of distance.
Unlimited substitutions (within a special zone) keep players in the game for as long as they feel they can maintain vigor. This builds and develop longer and longer cardio strengths.
Basic rules as FIFA soccer are in play but there are some interesting differences. A smaller ball is used for Futsall.
As the game is highly focused on safety, there are strong rules against aggressive behavior. Tackling can get you “red carded”- out of the game - fast. Overly aggressive teams and players can be given aggressive penalties.
With such a high emphasis on safety and strong skill development, it is no
surprise that the program is great for kids. The programs for kids begin at age 4 and are highly popular. Four different divisions cover ages 4 to 14 with a special division for Goalkeepers stretching to age 19. I can’t say enough about how much respect I have for this programs... If your kids like soccer, they will love futsal and the great teachers!
Fitness impact: Five stars – I challenge you to play a full game. If you are moving with intensity it is a great cardio challenge.
Learning Curve: Three stars – Co-ed recreational beginner level soccer is great but there are rules to learn.
Social Aspect: Four stars – You will be welcomed. Great group of people, Very supportive and welcoming of all skill levels.
Availability/Cost: Five stars
– Free for adult pickup games! Affordable and great for kids at $60 for 8 games/weeks with ways to cut even that down if you become a club member or buy more than one season at a time.